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Scrivener for Windows gets an awesome update (1.7.1)

Scrivener for Windows might be the baby of the Scrivener family, but it’s catching up to its big brother quickly (and, happily, making my book even more useful to Windows users). The May 27th update to 1.7.1 is huge. It brings to Windows some of the key features for which many users have been waiting, even if they didn’t know it. 😉

Here are just a few of the additions I think will make PC people very, very happy.

Creating a Table of Contents
Creating your own TOC used to be a pain. Now it’s a cinch. Just select the items in the Binder that you want to include in the contents list (using Ctrl+click or Shift+click). To create a TOC with page numbers (say for a POD book or Word doc), go to Edit—>Copy Special—>Copy Documents as ToC. Create a blank document and paste the list.



To create your own ebook TOC (maybe more or less detailed than the one that’s created automatically), use Copy Documents as Scrivener Links instead.

Preserving Formatting
If you have a section of text with special formatting that you don’t want to lose when you compile, you can preserve it. Scrivener will protect the font, alignment, font size, spacing, everything. Just select the desired text and go to Format—>Formatting—>Preserve Formatting.

Using Format Presets
Want to apply a group of font and/or paragraph settings to select sections of text over and over? You can create and apply presets. This works nicely in conjunction with Preserve Formatting to apply style and preservation to things like quotes, representations of letters, text messages, or emails, or subheadings that you’ve embedded directly into the text.

Presets are found under Format—>Formatting. See this post for more on how presets and preserved formatting work.

To add the Preset Selector button to your format bar, go to Tools—>Customize Toolbars. Select the Format Toolbar in the box at the top right. In the left column, select Preset Selector (should be near the top) and click the right arrow button at the center to move it to the right column. Use the up/down arrows to adjust its position, if desired.

PresetSelectorCustomizing Icons
You can now customize the icon for any object in your Binder. Just right-click the item and choose Change Icon.


Adding a Full Screen Background Image
In the past it was difficult to add an image to the full screen backdrop, and if you did, it affected all projects. Now you can quickly select a backdrop image, and choose a different one for each project. Go to View—>Full Screen Backdrop. You can then select an image from the list (culled from those in your Binder, if any), or click Choose to select an image from any drive attached to your computer. Click here to learn more.

BackdropMenuFullScreenCreating Multiple Project Notes
If you’re like me, you can think of several uses for the Project Notes section. No need to choose, or clutter up the space. You can now create multiple project notes and toggle between them by clicking on the Notes header. To create a new project note, click the Notes header in the Inspector and choose Manage Project Notes. In the Project Notes Window, click the [+] button to add a new note. Click the X on a note’s tab to delete it.


Creating Documents from a Template
Do you have a form you like to use over and over? For example, a character information sheet. Now you can create document templates and then create new documents using the template. This way you won’t overwrite your original, and creating a new one is a snap. The Novel template comes preloaded with Character and Setting Sketch templates, but you can create your own.

Compiling Your Work
There have been several much-needed updates to the Compile function. Here’s a quick list.
– You now have the ability to create one or more front matter folders outside of the Draft that can be added in when compiling. You can have one for your ebooks, another for your print version, and still another for your submissions to editors/agents.
– Windows has finally eliminated the need to click an extra button (Modify) to access the formatting editor on the Formatting tab of Compile. (Guess I should update some of my posts…)
– The compile preview should provide more accurate results since it’s now based on PDF output.
– There are more options under Transformations tab, like Remove Highlighting and Remove Text Color.

And there’s much more (e.g. adding custom meta-data, additional placeholder tags). For the complete list, click here.

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session. If you don't already have it, you can download Scrivener here.

 Happy writing!

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  1. Reply

    I haven’t downloaded the update yet. I am scared to do anything that might confuse me. Just compiled my manuscript and had much difficulty getting my chosen fonts to stay once compiled. Finally went to Times Roman 12 point and compiled it that way. At least that’s readable, but it didn’t save my special fonts for text messages when I created the mobi file. I really don’t know what I am doing. Still learning every day 😉

    It also took me forever to figure out how to NOT have the first sentence of the manuscript printed twice at the beginning of each chapter (or get rid of my binder chapter headings and just have ONE chapter title.

    • Reply

      sknicholls: It sounds like you could really use the Preserve Formatting capability that came with the upgrade. That would solve your special fonts issue. Another option is to set up everything as desired in the Editor and use the Original compile preset. That one won’t override your formatting. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Reply

    WOW, thank you Gwen, I just downloaded the update this morning and I was going to study the changes tonight. You saved me a lot of time.
    I wish you a very nice time in Boston. We live in Montréal very close to Boston. It is a very very nice city.
    Thanks again, Lison

    • Reply

      Hi, Lison! These are some of the highlights, but there’s more.

      We’re excited about the travel opportunities once we get to Boston. Montreal (and Quebec) are on our list to visit in the next year or so. We were in Toronto and Niagara Falls last summer, and visited Vancouver and Victoria about ten years ago. My kids have both taken four years of French, so it would be extra fun for them to visit a French-speaking region of Canada. 😉

  3. Reply

    I Gwen, how wonderful to have your kid learn a new language when they are Young. They are quite luckey. I learned English when I was more than 25 years. My accent is terrible.
    I love Montréal. For me it is a beautiful city. French in the east and English in the west side of the city. You will love it.
    Send me an email when you will come, it will be our pleasure to receive you for a coffee or a beer and tell you about our city.

  4. John S


    Hi Gwen. Thanks for the summary! I just updated mine to 1.7.1 but wasn’t really sure what was in it. On another note, I’m thinking of buying your book but had a couple of questions before I do. Do you cover a work-around for back matter in the Windows version? Obviously if you put back matter into the Windows version then it will be labelled as a chapter when you compile. Also, professional editors like to use Word documents and Track Changes. Is there a way to get a Word document back into Scrivener to compile once the editor has finished? If these are covered in your book then let me know and I’ll just purchase. If not, can you direct me to some information on your website or elsewhere? Thanks again.

    • Reply

      John S: I don’t cover a work-around for back matter in the book. The Mac version has the same back matter issue. I avoid it by not using a folder, but just putting back matter documents at the same level as the chapter folders (or you could include them in the last chapter folder, if desired). For those that need to be different depending on the retailer, I name them accordingly and include/exclude them in compile as needed.

      Changes made in Track Changes don’t import well. You’ll basically get both your original words, plus the changes made, all mashed together. Comments will import as comments, I believe. To avoid this, you have a couple of options. You could just refer to the editor’s notes on your Word document but make your changes in Scrivener (this is what I do, see this post for more: Or, you could make all of the changes in Word, then import that document into Scrivener and move your old version to a folder outside of the Draft/Manuscript folder. If you’re using # (or something else) to mark your scene breaks, you can use Import and Split to divide it up for you quickly.

      I hope that helps!

      • John S


        Thanks for the quick response, Gwen. Regarding the back matter, if I put an epilogue or CTA page on the same level as chapters then Scrivener will label them with chapter headers. For example, the novel I just wrote has 81 chapters. If I add an epilogue then it will be automatically labelled as “Chapter 82” on compile, and not “Epilogue”. How do you make sure the chapter headers don’t appear?

        As for the Track Changes import, it looks like I’ll just have to use a professional formatter, which I had planned on doing this time anyway.

        Thanks again!

        • Reply

          John S: If your chapters are documents and not folders, then yes it will label the back matter items as well. To get around it, you can mark them As-Is in the Contents pane of compile. You just have to be sure the document is formatted in the Editor the way you want it to compile. Good luck!

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  6. Reply

    Thanks for this info–but have question—RE TOC: once i copy as Scrivener links (i tried the TOC the other way too) the links are wrong. They are referencing the files on my hard drive and not in my document. So do i have to pull the doc into Word and change all the links individually? And if so, what do i change them to, to make them functioning TOC’s in an ebook?

    • Reply

      Kelli: Now that I’m rereading my post, maybe I wasn’t clear. The items to select should be folders and documents in your Binder (specifically the Draft or Manuscript folder since that’s where your compilable writing is). Are you selecting items in your Binder to copy, or items from somewhere else?

      • Reply

        Yes, i select the items in the particular manuscript folder, which are in separate chapters, under the heading folder for that book (i wish I could post a screenshot). But all else in compile works fine. I’ve tried edit>copy special>copy documents as ToC –also tried “copy as Scrivener links.” Neither gives me a working TOC in the preview of the finished book–the links are essentially broken ones, since they point to those docs on my hard drive, not to the sections/chapters in the book. I am using headings in Scriv and thought it would find those to make the document TOC. I made this work on some previous book but now can’t recall which or how i did it. I really don’t want to go back to that tedious one-at-a-time bookmarking thing i have to do for Smashwords to accept the file.

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  8. Reply

    Hey, Gwen, I’m trying to create a TOC. I’ve followed the directions, and get a list of Chapters and that symbol. When I compile to PDF, the symbol still remain and don’t turn into numbers as they seem like they ought to. Is there some setting I’m not doing? Thank you.

    • Reply

      Christina: The first place I’d look is on the Transformations tab of the Compile window. Make sure you don’t have “Remove All Hyperlinks” selected.

      • Reply

        Yes, I deselected the Remove all Hyperlinks checkbox, and I’m still having trouble.

        I do the Copy as TOC, and then paste and get the following within Scrivener:


        But when I compile to PDF I get:


        Is it a question of what I’m selecting in the Binder to create the TOC? I’ve done it a number of ways, by selecting only the folders, by selecting the folders (which contain text files that are scenes within a chapter), and also by selecting the first text file within each folder. All of them give me, in the final product:


        So what else can I try, do you think?

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